In college, I learned about flashbulb memories. In short, a flashbulb memory is a vivid memory usually attached to a highly emotional event. One of my flashbulb memories is when I became a mom. I can remember the relief I felt that labor was over, the weight of his small body laid on my chest, taking my index finger and touching his hair, and the feeling that most parents feel of what do I do now!
Being a mom is a journey. It’s a never-ending, lifetime commitment of a journey. There will be some lows, and there will be some incredible highs. Ten years ago, I became a mom for the first time, and it’s a journey that I would choose again and again. I’ve learned much over the past ten years about myself, about being a mom and a partner. Below I’ve included ten things I’ve learned in my journey through motherhood.
- No one knows what they are doing. Even the experts. Read all the blogs and books, but the reality is we’re all just winging it. There are some days or even weeks when I feel like I got this, but then a kid does something, says something, or has something that I’ve never seen or experienced before, and I’m right back at square one. Give yourself some grace.
- Like adults, kids have a love language. Both of my kids are high in touch. They love to hug. They love to snuggle. This can be a struggle for me because I’m not naturally high in touch. But I do make sure to show them love how they want to be loved.
- Make time for your spouse. Be sure to know who they are outside of being a parent.
- Make time for yourself. I like to read, so I make sure to read every day. Some days I read 20 pages, others two pages, and others 50 pages. I make time for the things that bring me joy that are separate from my identity as a wife and mother. I’ve found when I’m solely focused on being a wife and mother, I don’t feel my best.
- Enjoy being a mom. Have fun with your kids. Laugh with them. Make memories. Take lots of pictures. It goes by fast. One day you’re comparing car seats, and the next, you’re buying shoes that you can’t even fit.
- Don’t compare. Social media will make you believe that everyone has a clean, well-organized house. Their kids are the smartest that have ever existed and never get in trouble, and everyone is living a beautiful fairy tale life but you. It’s all a lie. Make your life and your journey in motherhood look and feel how you want it to feel. Do you like having over-the-top birthday parties-well great, but if you don’t, that’s ok too.
- Build a village. A support system is essential. This can be a group of friends, a neighbor, your mom, or even an online community.
- Figure out what is important. My son hates wearing jeans. He likes wearing sweatpants, joggers, and basketball shorts. At one time I would make him wear jeans a least once a week. He was unhappy and uncomfortable at least once a week. I came to the realization that there wasn’t a benefit for him to dress how I wanted him to dress. So, now I buy him sweats and joggers in the winter and basketball shorts in the summer.
- Accept help-you can’t do it all. From experience in trying to do it all you’ll burn yourself out. I don’t like the way my husband loads the dishwasher, but I’ll still take the help, because the dishes need washing and if he does it I don’t have to do it.
- Realize your kids aren’t you. They may look like you or even talk like you, but they are their own unique person. Let them embrace their uniqueness. My son loves sports and video games. I’d rather read a book or bake cookies. I follow the Colts on Instagram so I can talk football with him.
I’m sure in another ten years as my son and daughter mature and I mature as a person and mom, I’ll have more to add to this list or even some to take away. The journey of motherhood is constantly evolving. I’m looking forward to what the journey brings next.